Subjected

I'm a freelance journalist, a reporter in my own right. Matthias Conrad, that's what they would know me as. I don't exactly live by the book; you see, I have a little hobby. They call it trespassing. I call it urban exploration. What harm could possibly come to me in places that aren't even noticed? Well, I found that out the hard way. To this day, one memory remains fresh in my head. It won't go. It won't fade. It won't do to make it public. But I have to tell it to someone. Someone like you.

Chapter 1

Epilogue - Endless

24 October 2014

I drove to my apartment one stormy night, having just submitted my report on Windcrest Manor. The rain was pouring hard, my windscreen wipers struggling to keep up with the aquatic onslaught. My headlights were on full power, the road before me illuminated. Outside, the crashing of thunder and the pattering of the rain on my car created a maddening sound. Inside, it was quiet. I could barely hear the clinking of the water on my carbon fiber bonnet, the noise muffled.

It was quiet inside - inside me however, I couldn't find peace. Where my car was able to shut out the noise, my head could not shut out the memories. Three years since the Zirach Incident. Three years since my trauma. Three years since I was last able to find peace.

It was past midnight; I was still half an hour away from my apartment and the weather didn't seem to be taking a turn for the better. Everywhere I looked, I saw nothing but darkness, clouds and gravel. I was tired... ever so tired. I thought I would close my eyes for just a second... just a second. I wouldn't be asleep for long on this straight, endless road... wouldn't be long...

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And the car impacted the edge with a crash. I woke up, a rush of adrenaline flowing through my body, the vehicle embedded into a ditch on the side of the road. The car was wrecked, there was no way I could get it moving and I had no experience in the field of engineering. Damn it, my temptation got the better of me. I looked through the partially broken window: I was alone. I checked myself for injuries: nothing, I was fine. I tried to open the door: jammed. It wouldn't budge no matter how hard I pushed. Sighing, I slumped back in my seat.

I looked at the window once more. Now that it was weakened, it didn't look like it would sustain much damage. I unbuckled my seatbelt and gave the glass a strong kick. It gave way to the impact, broken glass now lining the edge of the vacant space. No way was I touching that with my hands. I had to dive out. I got up out of my seat and quickly leaped through the window.

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I hit the ground with a thud, dirty and muddy was it was. It didn't matter; I had been in stickier situations than this. I recovered to my feet, my clothes now stained with the fabric of the earth and wet with the weeping of the clouds. I walked onto the road, looking both sides. It seemed to stretch on into infinity, the ends impossible to see. "Somebody? Anybody? Help!" I cried. I was half expecting an angel to descend from Heaven. Instead of from the skies, it came from the road.

A faint light approached me amidst the gloomy mist, illuminating the shadow of the night. I walked closer to it, mesmerised by the yellow glow. As it got closer, I heard a voice. It was male. I couldn't understand what it was saying, for the rain drowned him out. Faster I walked, eager I moved. As the light got brighter, the voice became louder and clearer. Eventually, I was able to make out the words.
"Get out of the way you fool!" It screamed. The incoming car let out a droning honk...

And I found peace.

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